Source: American Monthly Review of Reviews
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The President’s Independent Position”
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 24
Issue number: 4
|“The President’s Independent Position.” American Monthly Review of Reviews Oct. 1901 v24n4: p. 394.
|Theodore Roosevelt (assumption of presidency); Theodore Roosevelt (political obligations).
|William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt; George Washington.
The President’s Independent Position
President Roosevelt becomes as fully responsible for the policies and methods of the administration as if he had been elected President instead of Vice-President. There is no possible obligation resting upon him to abdicate his own will or judgment in any degree. This, of course, is fully understood by every one. His avowed adherence to Mr. McKinley’s policies and his retention of high officials does not mean the suppression of his own views and preferences. It means rather that he finds it natural and agreeable to follow out lines of policy to which he was already committed, and finds it wholly congenial to work with the able and experienced public men under whom all the departments have been so well carried on that in the recent Presidential campaign there was no serious attempt made by political opponents to attack any one of them. No man since George Washington has come into the Presidential chair so absolutely free from personal claims of any kind upon him as has Mr. Roosevelt. The Vice-Presidential nomination was given him against his earnest protestations. The circumstances are too well known to be recounted here. Mr. Roosevelt has many political friends, but none who can claim any title to a reward; and, certainly, he has no disposition to punish his enemies. Nobody is entitled to consideration on the ground of having helped him to be President. When Governor of New York, he felt himself under obligation to consult at every step the preferences of certain leaders of the State Republican organization. These leaders had selected him as their candidate, had secured his nomination, and had aided in his election; and the consideration that he showed to them as governor was in every respect right and proper under our party system. It happens, however, that Mr. Roosevelt now finds himself President without the favor or help of any man. He finds a well-officered administration, the efficiency of which it will be his duty from time to time to enhance as much as possible. When vacancies occur he will be free to consider the good of the public service alone, and to appoint the very best men who can possibly be found,—since he has no pledges to redeem, no personal promises to observe, and no political debts to pay at the public expense. He can devote himself to the many interesting and important public questions that lie before us without much thought for office-seekers or for mere factional or party interests.